How did Jesus know it was time for EaSteR? Easter 2019
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Spring has sprung, and the stores are already discounting Easter décor - baskets, grasses, eggs and bunnies. I enjoy all of that, but as a follower of Jesus, my heart turns toward the Messiah, who hailed from Nazareth. I find myself wondering what Jesus was thinking about in the last couple weeks of his life.
In a few days, we recognize Palm Sunday when Jesus was cheered as he entered Jerusalem, but what was Jesus thinking before that week? Mark's gospel records his travel through Jericho on his way to the Holy City which was not his usual route to Jerusalem. Apparently, he and the disciples had been refused passage through a Samaritan village1, so they took an alternate route to Jerusalem. Jesus told the disciples what was about to happen. Watch this short clip of Jesus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_vVCibGHl4 ~ Luke 18.31-33
How did Jesus know when it was time. . . to go into Jerusalem to be arrested, tried, crucified?
And three years earlier, how did Jesus know when it was time . . . to do a miraculous sign, turning water into wine to rescue a wedding party, and show himself divine?
And to start public ministry, how did Jesus know when it was time to go out to the Jordan River for John to baptize him? Hmm.
In context, we remember John was preaching a message of repentance in the desert. . . preparing the way, as had been prophesied. The account: "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."2
This was Jesus' inauguration day.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted..." 40 days and nights of fasting.3 Friend, if you have not seen it -
there is nothing as desolate as the Judean Desert. ->
How did Jesus know when to go and where to go?
He was led by the Holy Spirit, Matthew informs us. How did the Spirit lead him, how did he sense his direction? Jesus prayed. While he was truly the Son of God, the gospels tell us that Jesus withdrew often to pray. He knew Isaiah's words, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, '
This is the way, walk in it.'"4
~>Jesus made prayer a priority. ~>Jesus prayed regularly, and
~>listened for the direction of his Father's voice
which he heeded. Jesus himself embodied desire, devotion and discipline - by making prayer a priority. (which we talked about in last briefing, Mr. Miyagi and Joy)
Throughout Jesus' public ministry, to the keen reader of the gospels, there is a sense of an advancing timepiece, moving toward a climax of epic proportions.
When the fullness of time came, Jesus began his final journey to Jerusalem. He went to celebrate Passover ~ that famous Passover meal we call the Last Supper. It was also the night he would be betrayed by his own disciple and friend, Judas; the night he would then walk across the Kidron Valley the short distance to the Mt. of Olives, where he would enter the dark Garden of Gethsemane to pray, to agonize over what was to come.
Jesus knew the Father's will because he prayed regularly, and he listened for his Father's voice. Ohhhh, yes. I want that to be true of me too - in these days before Easter and all year long.
Just discovered this beautiful, apt song by Steven Curtis Chapman, We Are Listening:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx6KMOCu-wM (also attached in full at the end of the podcast)
Will you . . . listen?
1 - Luke 9.51-56
2 - Matthew 3.16-17
3 - Matthew 4.1-7
4 - Isaiah 30.21